Janna WatsonJanna Watson is a painter who has developed a unique style and approach to her work through her constant exploration of her materials. She believes that her work itself has been the greatest influence on her art. The more she paints, the more she understands what her materials want to do, and this understanding is reflected in her recent works.
Janna is currently working with a stunning and subtly nuanced colour palette that balances soft, luxuriant neutral shades with pops of peachiness and electric brights. Her approach to developing and curating her palette is intuitive, and she’s inspired by the relationship between the moon and the ocean and her own relationship to the “essence/moodiness” of blue. During a period Janna describes as the most dreary month in Ontario (November 2022), each night, Janna walked to the end of her road, where there’s a large open field, to watch the sunset; what she saw in the cold winter sky is what she has captured in her latest series, called “Skywriting.”
Janna’s trademark surreal, poetic, and humorous titles like “Mercury Is In the Microwave” create wonderful interplay with her sophisticated paintings and enable them to exist as complete little worlds of their own. She believes that humor and poetry are important to her creative expression because life can be unexpected and unconventional. Janna’s titles remind us not to take life—or her work, for that matter—too seriously.
The concept of Wu Wei has been significant to Janna’s creative process for her new exhibition, “Skywriting.” Her evolving spiritual quest has resonated with indigenous beliefs of reciprocity with nature. She is also intrigued by Tao I Ching’s belief in a source of power, not a god, and how living energy is divinity. Calligraphy gestures as art forms and the idea of instinctive force have also inspired Janna. Painting has become a daily discipline and a spiritual practice, and Janna knows she has made a strong work when a painting feels like it has created itself.
Janna’s gestures on her panels are of many different shapes and sizes. She describes her brushes as being pivotal in developing depth in her compositions. Her earlier work consists of a lot of the same brushstrokes, but in smaller bundles. However, she has been exploring dimensions using seven different brushes with silky bristles. Her brushes have a charming place in her collection because they are all flat, wide, and cute. She jokes that they have better haircuts than her.
In conclusion, Janna Watson’s work is a beautiful blend of the sky’s beauty, the concept of wu wei, and her own unique creative expression. Her art reminds us to find humor and poetry in the unexpected and unconventional moments of life and to approach our work and daily lives with harmony and a natural flow.